Table of content    
  1. A Riveting Origin: The Birth of the 100th Bombardment Group
  2. Perils and Triumphs: The Early Missions
  3. From Darkness to Glory
  4. The Legacy
  5. Conclusion: A Tale of Sacrifice and Triumph

The True Story Behind The Miniseries 'Masters of The Air'

As the eagerly awaited miniseries "Masters of the Air" prepares to grace screens, it is paramount to delve into the riveting true story that serves as its foundation. Based on Donald L. Miller's book, "Masters of the Air: America's Bomber Boys Who Fought the Air War Against Nazi Germany," the series narrates the harrowing yet heroic saga of the 100th Bombardment Group of the American Eighth Air Force.

A Riveting Origin: The Birth of the 100th Bombardment Group

The saga commenced on paper at Orlando Army Base, Florida, on June 1, 1942. A carefully selected group of 230 enlisted men and 24 officers formed the initial cadre. Stationed in Boise, Idaho, the 100th Bombardment Group was officially activated on November 14, 1942, under the command of Col. Darr Alkire. Their journey began with setbacks, including a challenging practice mission from Kearney, Nebraska to Hamilton Field, California.
Following a change in leadership with Col. Howard Turner taking command, the group underwent extensive training. On May 25, 1943, 35 crews embarked on a pivotal journey to England, where they would be stationed at Station 139 in Thorpe Abbotts for the duration of the war.

Perils and Triumphs: The Early Missions

masters of the air promo pictureSource: IMDb

The group's inaugural combat mission on June 25, 1943, targeted submarine yards at Bremen, Germany. Tragically, this mission marked the loss of three planes and 30 crew members, setting the tone for the challenges ahead. The 100th Bombardment Group encountered numerous instances of substantial losses, earning them the grim moniker "the Bloody Hundredth."
Despite these hardships, the group achieved a significant victory above Regensburg on August 17, 1943. The daring raid on a German aircraft factory resulted in the first Distinguished Unit Citation for the 100th, severely impacting German production capabilities.

From Darkness to Glory

The nadir for the 100th Bombardment Group came during October 8-14, 1943, labeled "Black Week." Losses were significant, with missions over Bremen and M√ľnster taking a heavy toll on both aircraft and crew members. The resilience of the group shone through as they continued to target German airfields, industries, and missile sites.
Entering 1944, the 100th intensified its efforts, participating in "The Big Week," a concentrated assault on German aircraft factories. Their valor during this initiative earned them a second Distinguished Unit Citation. On D-Day, June 6, 1944, the 100th played a crucial role by bombing bridges and gun emplacements in support of the Allied invasion.

The Legacy

The statistics of the 100th Bombardment Group paint a vivid picture of their contributions and sacrifices. Between their first mission in June 1943 and their final operation in April 1945, the group completed 306 missions. Notably, they recorded 8,630 sorties, dropped 19,257 tons of bombs, and delivered 435 tons of food on humanitarian missions. The gunners claimed 261 enemy aircraft shot down, a testament to their aerial prowess.
However, the staggering losses reveal the true cost of their heroism. The 100th suffered 184 missing air crew reports, lost or salvaged 229 planes, and endured 757 men killed or missing in action, with another 923 taken as prisoners of war.

Conclusion: A Tale of Sacrifice and Triumph

As "Masters of the Air" prepares to grace our screens, the legacy of the 100th Bombardment Group comes alive. The untold story of these bomber boys, encapsulated in Donald L. Miller's meticulous narrative, serves as a poignant reminder of the sacrifices made for the freedoms we cherish today. This series promises not just Entertainment but a solemn tribute to the heroes who soared through the tumultuous skies of World War II.
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